Best bets for Day Two of the Dante Meeting at York

Day two on the Knavesmire at York for the Dante Meeting and we have the race the meeting is named after the Group Two Al Basti Equiworld Dante Stakes as the dish of the day on the seven-race card including some fiendishly difficult handicaps. I am having a nightmarish month, not helped by 22-1 and 40-1 winners going in at York on Wednesday. Faint heart never won fair lady as they say and I go again on Thursday but a change of luck wouldn’t hurt! The going is officially good this morning with a 50/50 chance of some light rain before racing begins, possibly lingering into the afternoon.  

Best bets for the horse racing at York the Dante Meeting

The older fillies and mares go in the Group Two Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies' Stakes over 1m2f at 3.15. There are a couple in here that I have tipped previously and last year's winner (tipped on here) Free Wind looks to have a great chance again. She didn’t win another race last season after taking this but had excuses more than once and was unlucky not to take the G.1 Yorkshire Oaks here in the summer over 1m4f. She goes well fresh, likes it here at York and is top-rated so her chance is there for all to see. Bluestocking is certainly consistent and ran well through last season without winning. Fourth in the aforementioned G.1 Yorkshire Oaks she was also second in the G.1 Juddmonte Irish Oaks and G.1 Qipco British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes, both over 1m4f. She certainly deserves to win a big prize. I was interested to read the comments of Ryan Moore about Infinite Cosmos in his Betfair column. Moore said of his mount “Free Wind and Bluestocking are obviously the form fillies but the boss has his horses in good form and hopefully there is plenty more to come from Infinite Cosmos, who finished third in the Musidora at this meeting last season, as a 4yo. You'd hope there is progression in her after just the four starts, and she comes into this in good form at home. I'm happy with her. I think the track will suit her, as will the recent rain.” On ratings she has 10lb to find on the market leaders and was behind Sapphire Seas in the 1m2f Listed John Musker Fillies' Stakes at Yarmouth when last seen in September. Sapphire Seas arrives off the back of a second-place finish in the G.2 1m1f Balanchine Stakes out in Meydan. Having not run at two she progressed throughout 2023 winning four times and should have more to offer yet. This is her toughest assignment to date but with a run under her belt she has a fitness edge on the market principles and looks the type to be better still this season. Charlie Appleby told the Godolphin website “Sapphire Seas had a little break after her run in Dubai and looks great heading into this. She has a bit to find on the ratings but stepping back up in trip should suit and she deserves to be in the field. We hope that she can be competitive.” This could be a really good contest and I favour Sapphire Seas in the hope she has improved again and may catch the big two not quite match fit. I am on at the 9-2 this morning.

The 1m2f Group Two Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes does look to be all about Ancient Wisdom. A member of my Dirty Dozen for 2024 he has tasted defeat just once in five starts when third in the Listed 7f Pat Eddery Stakes at Ascot last season; the re-opposing Al Musmak second that day. As I said at the start of the season I always thought the colt would be more a Derby contender than a Guineas hopeful and the team at Moulton Paddocks have waited for the Derby trials. Last seen taking a determined victory on heavy ground in the G.1 Futurity Trophy at Doncaster Charlie Appleby said this week “Ancient Wisdom has enjoyed a good preparation and stepping up to an extended mile and a quarter is going to suit. The ground will be a question mark and we will want the rain to come. We know that he is a better horse with ease in the ground, so we will be on weather watch slightly. If it’s on the easy side of good, then we will look forward to seeing him run. He has wintered well and we are very happy with him.” That does look like the main concern, will the ground be soft enough today, and, of course, a concern moving forward for Derby day? He did win on good to firm and good at the start of his career but perhaps despite the ground rather than because of it and his best form, taking the G.3 Autumn Stakes and G.1 Futurity Trophy, came on soft and heavy. I simply have to back him today and have done so at 13-8. I am already on his stablemate Arabian Crown 12-1 each-way for the Derby but may end up double-handed with Appleby runners if this one wins well today. That said I will wait till much nearer Derby Day to make my mind up with the ground conditions being an obvious consideration as if we do get some warm weather we may have to wait till the back end of the season to see the very best of Ancient Wisdom. Could he be Champion Stakes or an Arc colt?

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